Saturday, November 10, 2012

Four More Years!

Aaaaahhhh, the schadenfreude.  For once, I actually enjoy watching Fox News, and this Tumblr, White People Mourning Romney, has given me nothing but a steady stream of Me gusta.  The best part is that Obama's margin of victory was almost exactly what Nate Silver and the other scientifically-grounded statisticians had predicted, unlike the "unskewed" polls coming from nearly every conservative outlet.  It's always fun to watch reality force itself upon the willfully ignorant. 

I'm also thankful Obama won the popular vote.  If he had received fewer actual votes than Romney, I can imagine that would have been a huge source of contention in the months ahead.  Of course, it seems one of the Republicans' current coping mechanisms is to to insist that the popular vote was really close--which it  A win's a win, and the only thing that matters anyway is the electoral college, so there you go.

Looking to the future, check out this chart from Slate that breaks down the races of each candidates' supporters:

Clearly Republicans have a problem.  The only group they dominate is the only one that isn't growing as an overall share.  Furthermore, in both 2008 and 2012, Obama has garnered overwhelming support from all age groups below the age of 40.  So Republicans, you've spent the past thirty-plus accusing minorities and young people of being lazy grifters, bashing gays, and forcing Conservative Christianity on everyone else.  Sure, it allowed you to dominate the old white people demographic, which worked out pretty well for a while.  But guess what?  You've successfully painted yourself into a corner.  Have fun with that shrinking constituency.  And oh my science, it's been great watching the blowhards on Fox News shed tears of infinite sadness over the death of "traditional" America.

It'll be interesting to see what happens from here.  Because of the demographics above, Democrats look to have a structual lock on the electoral college, and it will become tougher and tougher for Republicans to break through in future presidential contests.  Already, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, wants to find a way to award Ohio's electoral college votes in the next election based on the outcome of each congressional district rather than as a winner takes all system.  This would almost guarantee a Repulbican candidate 12 of Ohio's 16 electoral votes due to gerrymandering after the 2010 census.  Indeed, such a system across the country would result in a Republican landslide unless the Democratic candidate achieved a massive margin of victory in the popular vote.  So yeah, expect that to be a fight in the near future. 

Personally, I think we need to do away with the electoral college all together and use a straight popular vote.  It would give everyone incentive to vote and not just the voters in a handful of swing states.  But who knows if that will ever happen.

Looking beyond the Presidential contest, I also get the sense that this election will mark a tipping point in the ongoing demographic and generational shift.  I already mentioned the structural challenges for the Republican Party to win the presidency, but we also saw equality for gays win out this year in every state where it was on the ballot, and marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington.  I'm thrilled to see gay rights finally succeeding at the ballot box.  I never expected opinions to turn this fast, and hopefully this will be the year that everything changed.  And with marijuana, perhaps the end of it's prohibition is in sight, and we can stop incarcerating so many of our fellow citizens for partaking in a substance that is no more harmful than alcohol.  Not only would it free millions from jail, but it would save billions of taxpayer dollars too.

Anyway, I hope this election marks the point when my fellow Millenials finally take control of the national conversation and steer the country towards a more inclusive future.  I'm sur ethere will be setback along the way, but things feel pretty good this week.